As the coeditors of Reception, we are very excited to offer this issue, our fifth and the first published under the auspices of the Pennsylvania State University Press. Our partnership with Penn State has been made possible through the generous financial support of the Klinger College of Arts and Sciences at Marquette University and through funding support from Kansas State University. Through this new partnership, Reception will also be archived in JSTOR. Along with the journal’s editorial board and the executive committee of the Reception Study Society, which is the official sponsor of Reception, we are pleased with the ways this arrangement will help us support the work of a growing number of researchers in the field of reception studies.
This year’s offering, a special-topics issue on fan-mail reception, is organized by guest editors Charles Johanningsmeier of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Barbara Ryan of the National University of Singapore, and we wish to thank them for their excellent work. The four articles forming the core of this issue testify to the growing influence of reception methodologies in literary and media studies. By thinking of fans as persons who receive texts, reception scholars are able to acknowledge the creative potential of fans across historical periods and media platforms. As Ryan and Johanningsmeier write in their introduction, “The study of fans weaves authority and enthusiasm with creativity, identity formation (including re-formation), and structures of assessment that set (yet also cross) boundaries in realms as varied—yet linkable—as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ audiencing, approved and disapproved self-display, admirable and scorned uses of leisure, refined and [End Page 1] déclassé arts appreciation, and ultimately ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ values.” Fan studies, filtered through reception methodology, meets people where they experience texts, thereby validating a wide range of responses and, in turn, a wide range of possible texts judged “worthy” of devoted reception. Fan studies allows academic disciplines the latitude to address a number of texts that are meaningful to large audiences, but which have at times been devalued by academic culture at large.
In September 2013, we will have the opportunity to launch this new partnership with Penn State University Press formally at the Reception Study Society’s biennial conference, to be held at Marquette University. We are expecting scholars from five continents to converge on Milwaukee for this event, and we look forward to further expanding the international scope of the Reception Study Society in future issues of Reception, which will include a future special-topic issue, edited by Patrocino P. Schweikart and Philip Goldstein, devoted to cross-cultural reception. As interactivity becomes a cultural commonplace, we fully expect that scholars will turn to reception studies as a means to understanding the ways that texts work in the world, and we are excited to be the established venue for publishing such scholarly explorations. [End Page 2]